Confession: I like broken shit. I’m just drawn to it. Always have been. I like it even more if it used to be shiny, beautiful, innocent or full of promise. See, the way down is so interesting to me. The way it actually happens, why it happens, the little details that break off as it’s happening. It’s dark stuff. People don’t want to talk about it… not fun at a party. But everyone thinks about it, usually when they’re alone.
That’s just the first act though. The second act is what happens when you get to the bottom. There’s a freedom there. When you’re beyond preaching, and over the guilt. You arrive at a dangerous kind of emotional escape velocity where things can break apart. And then they do.
And that leads to the third act: the next life. You’re the same, sort of, but changed. First purpose become next purpose. It’s when you’re standing on the other side of a burnt bridge. When you let everything go. It feels pretty good. Relaxed. And things come back together in new ways.
I think this is why I’ve always been attracted to junk yards. All those rusty, broken things lying around. Story after story. Ever go to a good junk yard on an unbearably hot summer day and look really closely at the totaled cars? Crumpled up around the engine compartment, cracked windshield, what might be blood on the steering wheel… and you find some weirdly-shaped engine part… part of a drive train… a rusted gear of some sort. You haggle with the junkyard guy who smells like grease and could give a shit about your artistic notions. “Whatever, man. It’s $40 bucks. That’s my bottom price.”
You bring the gear home and put it on your kitchen counter. Every morning you stare at it, trying to decipher the shape. It’s living its next life… a resurrection as sculpture. From function to art.
Anyway, I write songs and sing and make records. And I’m learning to weld.
PEOPLE YOU MIGHT SEE ON STAGE
Jess DeNicola – voice, songs
When Jess opens her mouth to sing, something strange happens–it suddenly becomes 1936.
You’re standing at the bar inside a supper club with a name like ‘The Magnolia Room’. It’s a hot and humid summer night. You’ve had one too many gin and tonics. You feel like anything is possible. The woman in the white dress singing on stage makes you blush. Is she singing directly to you?
Yes. Jess is a time machine.
She’s been singing since she was about 3 years old. Her voice will break your heart, but you’ll thank her. She’s also a sweetheart.
Joe Mazza – guitars
Joe woke up from a strange dream in a strange room in a strange bed. He wasn’t sure how he got here, honestly. What day was this, anyway? He thought to himself “I live a fairly tame existence. So how did this happen?”
He looked down and saw he was fully dressed. Still had his boots on. He put his right hand into his right pocket and pulled out a worn picture of a beautiful woman and a smiling young boy. He turned to the right and saw weak morning light filtering through a window. Just a skim milk sky. He turned to the left and saw a guitar, a blonde Telecaster, leaning against a blackface Fender Vibrolux tube amp. For some reason, this made him feel better.
Right before he got up to figure things out he thought to himself, “I’m just going to lay here for another minute or two, and try to remember that dream.”
Jon Wirtz – rhodes, wurlitzer, organ, piano, accordion, glockenspiel
Jon Wirtz is a killer. Don’t let his affable nature and “all American boy next door” good looks fool you. He’s a cold blooded killer. Don’t be disarmed by the way he will quietly shovel your snowy walk on wintry mornings, p’shawing you when you offer to return the favor some time. He’s a stone cold killer. Don’t be lulled into a false sense of security by his willingness to lend you money saying, “Pay me back whenever you can, I’m just happy to help you out.” He’s a maniacal, bloodthirsty sociopath. Don’t believe him when he asks how your Mother’s been doing. He’s just maneuvering you into a position of weakness so that he can pounce on you like a ferocious flesh eating tiger of some sort.
You can, however, believe him when he drops a bad ass Rhodes part on you in the middle of a song. Or flattens you with a Hammond thing that makes you scratch your head. Or whips out an unexpected accordion solo. Or goes all Bach on his xylophone. You can believe that.
But I still wouldn’t trust him. Did I mention he’s a killer?
Casey Sidwell – bass
Casey Sidwell entered the federal witness protection program at the age of five.
Here is what happened:
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After making it through that ordeal, barely, Casey decided to pursue a life in music… mainly because he’s a people person and also because he views the ridiculous pay as his way of “giving back” after the huge government settlement.
His specialty is the low end… which is more commonly referred to in Mexico as “la cosa espantosa que hace el ruido bajo”.
Marc Dalio – drums, beats, percussion, stuff
If Marc wasn’t a drummer, he’d be a graphic artist. If he wasn’t a graphic artist, he’d be a photographer. If he wasn’t a photographer, he’d be an author. If he wasn’t an author, he’d be a philosopher… or maybe an astronaut.
John Common – songs, voice, guitars, rhodes, wurlitzer, piano, samples
John was born in a small fishing village off the coast of Portugal named Uoraguwaogo. His father was a simple fisherman. John’s Mother would awaken before Father and make them all fish cakes mixed with a small, bitter fruit called iquiadita. They were very poor, but blessed.
Yet, something was missing from John’s life. Every evening, he would walk down to the sea and look westward out into the blackness, dreaming of something better. One day, while cleaning fish near the ocean, John saw a big trunk that had washed up from the sea.
He opened it and found a guitar, a film projector and an educational filmstrip entitled “ESP: Stop Laughing, It’s Real” inside. He did not fully comprehend what these things would come to mean to him at the time… but he experimented. He played. Lord, he played. He practiced in the day and he practiced in the night, whenever he wasn’t helping mother and father with the chores of course. Mother would always say, “Stop that foolishness… go learn how to fish from Father”. But as John grew into a man, he knew what his purpose in life was… to make this thing we call the “rock music”.
John left Uoraguwaogo with the clothes on his back, his guitar, his film projector and his filmstrip. He scraped together a living by playing music. Barmitzvahs in Tel Aviv. Hindu weddings in Calcutta. Small pubs strewn across Ireland. A line dancing joint in Salina, Kansas. Art openings in Los Angeles. Warehouse parties in London. A small punk club in the Netherlands. Sluggos in Pensacola, Florida. Even the Lion’s Lair in Denver, Colorado. Yes… he played them all.
After wandering this lonely world, he ended up in Colorado and found his musical and spiritual brethren. Together they formed a rugged band of minstrels, a “rock group” devoted to sharing the love and the sorrow inside their hearts with all who would listen.